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OWC Thunderbay FLEX 8: Configuration Possibilities
Related: hard drive, Other World Computing, OWC Thunderbay, OWC ThunderBay FLEX 8, RAID, RAID-0, RAID-1, SSD, storage, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 3, weather events
MPG tested the OWC Thunderbay Flex 8 with four 2TB SSDs and four Toshiba 4TB MG04ACA hard drives. Configurations up to 128TB (8 X 16TB) possible.
The OWC ThunderBay FLEX 8 ships in various configurations, including 4 hard drives and 4 SSDs, or 8 hard drives, or 1-4 SSDs and the remainder as hard drives, or as an empty DIY enclosure.
In addition to the 8 bays supporting SSDs and hard drives, the PCIe slot can be used for any PCIe card, such as a GPU or an up to 16TB PCIe SSD such as the OWC Mercury Accelsior M42. Thus it is possible to have up to 32TB of SSD storage in a single enclosure, along with 4 hard drives up to 64TB (4 X 16TB), and higher-capacity hard drives will arrive on the market soon. Actually, if the 8 bays are used for 4TB SSDs, then it is possible to add another 32TB of SSD for a total of 48TB SSD in a single enclosure! Or 64TB if a 32TB PCIe SSD is used.
A typical configuration ideal for many types of workflows would be four SSDs for high-performance storage, along with four hard drives for high capacity storage. By default, OWC ships a 4-SSD/4-HDD FLEX 8 unit as:
- The four SSDs as a RAID-0 stripe volume for maximum capacity and performance.
- The four hard drives as a RAID-5 volume offering high performance with fault tolerance.
This configuration is easily changed using the SoftRAID software. Just a few of the possible combinations could include:
- Four independent SSD volumes.
- Two dual-SSD RAID-0 stripe or RAID-1 mirror volumes or one single-SSD volume and a 3-SSD RAID-0 stripe volume.
- Four independent hard drives.
- Two dual-HDD RAID-0 or RAID-1 volumes
- One single-HDD volume and one 3-drive RAID-0 or RAID-5 or RAID-1 volume.
In addition, any of the above flavors can be partitioned, e.g., a 4-drive volume (any flavor) could be partitioned into an arbitrary number of smaller volumes—for example, a 4-drive HDD volume taking the first 2/3 or 3/4 of the capacity so as to guarantee higher average performance, with the remaining space either ignored or used for a 2nd slower volume.
Below, toggle to see the hard drive (HDD) vs SSD (solid state drive aka flash drive setup).